Bamberg enjoys the reputation of being a very sporty city. Even more so since the volleyball players of the VG bamberg, the "mediteam volleys", to talk about. Just one year they stayed in the bavarian league, in the coming season they will play in the regional league sudost. The FT talked to werner kuhhorn, the chairman of the volleyball association bamberg (FVVB), who is involved in this function as team coordinator for the first women’s team of the VG bamberg. The bamberg volleyball departments of post-SV, MTV bamberg and FC eintracht 2010 are united in the VGB.
As a promoted team, we played a top season, were runners-up, and then managed to win promotion again in an exciting relegation tournament: are you surprised by this development??
Werner kuhhorn: of course, this success came as a complete surprise to all of us. Our goal for the season was to maintain our position in the bavarian league after an outstanding season in the state league. We could not really estimate the playing strength of the other bavarian league teams before the season. Fortunately, we were able to keep all of our top players and, with mareike bleuel from TV/DJK hammelburg and my daughter ann-kathrin kuhhorn, we were able to strengthen the team with two regional league experienced players after her return from the USA. Another stroke of luck was the short-term appointment of the new coach heriberto quero, who – as a former outstanding bundesliga player – is the player-coach at VC eltmann and with his volleyball competence motivated every player to new high performances.
After the first few days of play, it was already clear that, together with erlangen and regenstauf, we probably belonged to the top three in the league and could set our goals somewhat higher. Also to the surprise of all of us, the feared break in the flow of play after the departures of conny wolf and linda forst in mid november failed to materialize. The remaining players around supporting player anna michel and libera tanja maier were able to compensate for these two absences without any problems. Our young players laura badum and especially the youth bavarian selection player katharina schon outgrew themselves unbelievably in some parts and competed excellently with the more experienced karolin rebhan, vicky graf and alena raab.
No team managed to beat us in our own hall at georgendamm, so that we finished second in the table with only three defeats away from home and qualified for the promotion games to the regional league. After we had already defeated and toppled the respective table leaders twice at home during the season, we went into the relegation against the regional league eighth vfl nurnberg and the bavarian league south second TSV eiselfing with some confidence. For the games we had to move to the aurachtalhalle in stegaurach.
Nevertheless, the team once again outdid itself, delivered the two best games of the season, defeated both opponents with 3:2 sets in the tiebreak and advanced directly as the winner of the relegation. While the promotion to the bavarian league was already the biggest success in the club’s history, the team had virtually pulverized this record within twelve months. The joy and the jubilation of the team together with the approximately 300 spectators was accordingly coarse.
The bamberg women’s volleyball team is ready for the regional league?
I think we are on a good way. In terms of personnel, we were able to maintain the team as far as possible; in addition to the two players who left, conny wolf and linda forst, only vicky graf joined us. Of course, we have to replace three regular players here. Promising talks and training sessions are underway in the search for additional top performers and supplementary players. It is particularly pleasing that heriberto quero is still available as a coach and is tackling the ‘regional league adventure’ with the team. Our goal is, as in the previous year, to stay in the league.
In contrast to the bavarian league, we are already familiar with some of the teams in the regional league. Due to a restructuring of the league, the two losers of the relegation, nurnberg and eisel fing, were promoted to the regional league and erlangen, the champion of the bayernliga-nord, and regenstauf, the third of the bayernliga-nord, are two more ex-bayernliga teams, so we will meet four teams that we have already defeated once at home in the previous season or relegation.
In addition, there is TV/DJK hammelburg, for which our players bleuel, rebhan and kuhhorn were already active, and the regional league-experienced teams from straubing – a bundesliga reserve, munich, marktoffingen and rottenberg. Financing for the coming season is largely secured. Fortunately, our name sponsor, the company mediteam, will continue to support us in the future. After our promotion, other sponsors more than doubled their financial commitment. The costs for a regional league season are around 15,000 euros for us. The players do not receive any compensation or travel expenses. Volleyball is even in the 4. League a flawless amateur sport.
After the adventure in the 2009/10 season, when there was a then failed men’s national league club in bamberg that lacked the financial foundation: describe the situation of volleyball in the bamberg area.
At the beginning of 2010 we were all devastated. The volleyball community had placed great hopes and personal commitment in the volleyball bundesliga location of bamberg and supported the bundesliga team VC franken to the best of its ability. We had also ceded all of our men’s and men’s youth teams to the VC franconia as a substructure.
The few months until the insolvency of the VCF and the forced relegation also showed that something rough had been able to grow here. Sports work groups with several schools had already begun, the number of spectators increased from game to game and bamberg was already one of the most popular locations in the first season. Unfortunately, this was all due to criminal machinations of the then chairman abruptly to an end. In this respect, the financial foundation was not necessarily lacking at that time, but the available funds were misappropriated.
The dissolution of the bundesliga team led to a slump in the entire VG area. The youths and players of the then second and third men’s teams unfortunately did not move back to the VG, but to memmelsdorf and hirschaid. Since then, there has been only one men’s team in the district league in bamberg, which is largely recruited from purely recreational players. Men’s volleyball currently only takes place in the bamberg area in memmelsdorf and in hirschaid. There is a close cooperation between eltmann and VG bamberg, which is already shown by our common coach heriberto quero.
Eltmann has a clear pra on the male field, while the VG bamberg currently concentrates on the women, also in the youth field. This does not mean, however, that there are no successful young volleyball players in bamberg, as the recent successes of our male E-youth team show. The VG is currently the most successful women’s team in upper franconia, with four teams taking part in the games. Between hammelburg in the west and erlangen in the south, there is no women’s team of the same or a higher level.
With an average of around 150 spectators, we were the ‘spectator cousin’ in the bavarian league, while the average for the bavarian league was around 30 to 50 spectators. Here, too, it is evident that professional work – we were the only team in the league to have our own indoor newspaper on every match day, as well as an indoor announcer and a DJ for musical accompaniment and animation – is rewarded by the spectators.
All in all, it has to be said that the sport of volleyball – especially in the area of men’s national league – has suffered significant losses in recent years, which i regret very much, not only as an old volleyball player, but also as district chairman and vice president of the bavarian volleyball association BVV. A trend that affects not only the bamberg area, but the whole of bavaria. When I was active, there were still teams in frensdorf, schammelsdorf and USC bamberg, for example. But we are doing everything we can to counteract this trend.
What plans do you have to further establish volleyball in the region??
I think every sport lives from the top and from the breadth. Without top teams, there is a lack of incentives and role models for kids to take up this sport themselves: without a functioning youth program and several lower-class teams, there is also a lack of players to be able to play at the top in the long term. So we have to work on maintaining the regional league and, in the medium term, at least moving up to the 3rd division. To advance to the second league.
The last season has already shown that the games of our first women’s team have contributed to a greater cohesion within the club and to a greater degree of familiarity in the greater bamberger sports family. The aim is to build on this and give the home games in the regional league in the sports hall on georgendamm the character of an event. Even if the basketball players don’t like to hear it, our goal has to be to reach the no. 1 position in the league. 1 among women’s ball sports.
But this also includes a broad youth work. VG has been successfully running its ball school for years, even before the "heidelberg model" was publicized in our region. From the F- to the A-youth, the problems in the matter of trainer and hall capacities must be solved, in order to be able to offer a differentiated youth work.
Unfortunately, we have only been able to work on a selective basis in the past few years, so that we have not been able to fill all the age groups. Our goal is to meet the requirements as a BVV base and to be recognized as such. With a successful first team and a youth center, we had the arguments to hold our own in the basketball stronghold of bamberg.